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Travel still high on retirement wish list, but becoming snowbirds is more of a myth than a reality: RBC poll

Not-yet-retired Canadians dream of wintering in the south, retirees prefer to stay home

TORONTO, December 10, 2013 - While Canadians approaching retirement may think they want to spend their post-career years heading somewhere warm for the winter, the reality is that Canadians living in retirement find there’s no place like home year-round, according to the RBC 2013 Retirement Myths & Realities Poll.

One-quarter (27 per cent) of not-yet-retired Canadians who are 50 and older responded that they expect to be snowbirds in retirement by “regularly going somewhere warm in the winter”. In contrast, only 16 per cent of retired Canadians reported that they actually are snowbirds.

While the annual poll found that both men and women approaching retirement were equally interested in being snowbirds (28 per cent and 26 per cent respectively), there were marked differences between how the genders expect they will be spending their retirement years. Women were much more likely than men to say they will work as volunteers (63 per cent versus 52 per cent) or spend more time with their friends (50 per cent versus 39 per cent). Men, on the other hand, planned to spend more time with their spouse/partner (61 per cent versus 53 per cent). Despite these very different expectations, over one-third (36 per cent) of pre-retired couples have not talked to their spouses/partners about what they want to do when they retire.

“It’s so important to discuss your expectations for retirement with the key people in your life, including a financial advisor who can help ensure you are prepared for this next phase,” explained Bill Hill, National Retirement Planning Consultant at RBC. “We know from the work we do with our clients that the reality of retirement can be different from what people imagine it will be. If you are within five to 10 years of your ideal retirement date, it’s time to focus on what’s really important to you – your family, your health, your lifestyle, your legacy – and start preparing now for the retirement you have in mind.”

FAST FACTS – RBC 2013 Retirement Myths & Realities Poll

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About the Fourth Annual RBC 2013 Retirement Myths & Realities Poll
This annual poll examines Canadians’ expectations and experiences in retirement. It was conducted via online interviews by Ipsos Reid from February 27 to March 12, 2013, using a national sample of 2,159 adults aged 50 and over with household assets of at least $100,000 from Ipsos’ Canadian online panel. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100 per cent response rate would have an estimated margin of error of ±2 percentage points 19 times out of 20 of what the results would have been had the entire population of adults in Canada been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

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Media Contact:
Kathy Bevan, Communications, RBC,416-974-8820